Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How To Rescue The Marvel Family--Shazam, Inc.!!

Look,we all know that I am not allowed, by various international treaties, to ever actually write comic books.

So I'm going to give this idea to DC for free. Gratis. Pro bono.

See, the solution to the whole Marvel Family problem that has been plaguing DC for years is simple.

And it's not going to come from Geoff Johns. People have been waiting for years now for him to unleash the SHAZAM! (sigh) relaunch, but it's not going to come from him, because upper management has him limited to writing just one monthly book (so he can focus on his Chief Creative Officer duties)...and he's not giving up Justice League. And no one else at DC seems that interested.

But I've got the perfect solution. And it's just two words.

Shazam Inc.

"What the...?" you say?

Well. let's go to the Wayback Machine, and visit Wow Comics #18 (1943), for the first appearance of Dudley H. Dudley, a.k.a. Uncle Marvel!!

After Mary Batson initially meets him, and they have an adventure together, she goes to visit him at his new office:

I love this version of the SHAZAM acronym...

Anyway, the save a rich man from some crooks, and get a $5,000 reward! And Dudley wants to alter the bargain a bit:

But before she can confront him, we learn that Dudley is indeed a hero at heart...

Well, his adventures and good deeds have made Dudley a better man, and...

And thus Shazam Inc. became a recurring idea in the Marvel Family books (mainly Mary's), becoming in the words of The Marvel Family Web "a charitable organization that allowed the common man to access the Marvel Family for help." I don't believe the idea ever made to transition to modern Marvel Family comics...

But holy crap--that idea could work! It would really work!! "A charitable organization that allowed the common man to access the Marvel Family for help"?? That's Heroes For Hire run by the Marvel Family!!

Look, DC has already drummed up some fannish interest in the general concept thanks to Batman Inc. So why not extend the "Inc" franchise, as it were, as use it as a way to integrate the Marvel Family into the new nu52?

Sure, you can use the new Geoff Johns SHAZAM! (sigh) concept (not my cup of tea, but whatever). But it the new DC era of "continuity doesn't count, story does," they can elide the concept, or merge something or other post-Multiversity/Convergence, or whatever. But they can do any story they bloody well feel like, given the concept. If you want to have the Lieutenant Marvels team-up with Captain Marvel Junior to protect a neighborhood from a drug gang, you can! If you want to have Uncle Marvel meet Thunder, the Captain Marvel from the year 9000, while he's investigating smugglers of rare artifacts, go for it! And in a DC universe where the "heroes" often seem too busy to actually help the common man, well, Shazam Inc. would fill the gap!!

Plus--and here's the beauty part--You can plaster Shazam Inc. on the cover, and you wouldn't have to change Captain Marvel's name to SHAZAM! (sigh) on the inside. You've got a reason to call the book Shazam, and don't have to jump through silly hoops to justify it. (Bonus beauty part: then you don't have to worry about the ridiculous contortions you'd have to come up with to re-name Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., etc).

Shazam Inc, DC. I gift this idea to you. Make it happen.

(Double bonus beauty part--Tawky Tawny teams up with Hoppy the Marvel Bunny. Vs. Bat-Mite. MAKE THIS HAPPEN!!!!!)


Siskoid said...

Shazam Inc., Hero Hotline, whichever they want to do, I want to read.

Writrzblok said...

Love this idea.

SallyP said...

This is actually...a rather brilliant idea!

Sina said...

Enh, okays...a bit of a rip and lack of originality and jumping on the bandwagon of the Batman Inc. (as you said) but enh, okay :I it actually even legitimately came first, whatevs :/

tbh, the whole "u can't use that, wat r we gonna call it" debate is *boring* and takes away from any long-term development that the characters themselves could and should be benefiting from :(

Why can't they just call it 'The Marvel Family'? For the same reason they can't call it 'Capt. Marvel'? 'Cause they not only have precedent set with the long-defunct 'Superman Family' line of comics and titels, but that's also where the heart & soul of what the "shazam" series has always been about, imo...family, friends, cousins, uncles, brothers, sisters, animals, etc. etc. with any other supernatural/commercial/mythological/bureaucratic or other connotations being merely addenda to that central concept :)

On its own, this idea isn't spectacular in my eyes, workable and doable, sure, but it seems more like a side-story or a back-up tale that we hear about from time to time inbetween the larger plots, and really, aren't these types of "commercial/business collective", "marvel team-up/two-in-one" or "detective agency"/"heroes-for-hire"-type ideas designed to bring together characters who otherwise *wouldn't* or *couldn't* be plausibly linked (ie: "Ka-Zar meets Man-Thing!")?

It even seems more like a "What If?" than a "really good idea" (like as in "What If? Tarzan suddenly opened up a jungle-themed petting zoo for orphans in London?")...the same basic threads are there, with enough already-established plausibility to make it justifiable, but ultimately I think it'd be just another angle that'd only work under certain creative teams before petering out and being abandoned with nonsensical and lackluster plots & team-ups from obscure characters that nobody knows or cares about and not given enough creative juice to do *right* all quickly slapped together as its final harbinger before cancellation, if even that :D

...And I think the Marvel family deserves better than that ;D